This was originally written in December 2008. It’s still worth a read and some consideration as a company business strategy.
Employee Owned Companies
In my career, I’ve worked for two employee-owned companies. Both were excellent employers.
Being employed by a company you own a stake in makes a huge difference in the company culture. My mantra for 2009 is that company culture is ultimately the one reason that drives a business to excellence, superseding talent, compensation, visions, missions, innovation and any other reason you may throw out. Without a strong vibrant encouraging culture, none of these other factors can flourish.
Employee ownership is the single strongest differentiators in business, and is sorely under-utilized. I am not talking about employee stock purchase plans. I am talking about actually owning shares that you receive as part of your annual compensation.
This would do far more to help rebuild economies than a piece of adversarial legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act ever could. Business and employees don’t need 3rd party interveners and relationships based on adversarial negotiation. They are mutually engaged in seeking the best outcome for business success, in a way that serves the interest of all stakeholders.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans are one way of achieving this. I saw a really great story about such an example of this in a story from the Naples New this weekend.
In their own hands: Employees run the business at Florida Company
In a rare move to save his company, a dying man initiated a complex process
to put his 30-year venture into his employees’ hands.
Larry Bill had battled cancer for years and needed to address Pelican
Wire Co.’s future without himself at the helm.
There were potential buyers, including a Chinese company, said Ted
Bill, his son and company president.
Instead, the Bill family embarked on a nearly nine-month process of
transferring ownership to Pelican’s 48 employees in an employee stock ownership
plan, or ESOP, which Ted Bill referred to as expensive, although no figures were
The transaction was completed this fall, about six months after Larry
“He always had a passion for the employees,” Ted Bill said. “He wanted
them to come to work feeling like they had an ownership stake.
Employee Owned Businesses the New Future Model for US Business?